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Ask Attyadvisor Your Own Question
Attyadvisor, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 6733
Experience:  29 years of experience in General Practice, Real Estate Law and Estate Law.
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I am sharing a electrical meter with a next door neighbor and

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I am sharing a electrical meter with a next door neighbor and the bill is determined by the amount of usage we each will use. Well, normally we would pay for the total electrical bill each month on time then our neighbor would pay us back the portion he owed. They are at now two months behind of paying their share of the electric bill. The meter is on my property and the switch to turn off their electricity is on my property. Can I turn off their power for no payment just like a Electrical Companies WOULD if I didn't pay the bill? When is the appropriate time to turn it off? Do I give them notice? ETC.

Welcome and thank you for your question. I will be the professional that will be assisting you.

Do you have any agreement with the neighbor in writing?

The concern with you turning off the electric is the potential liability on your part for an accident or injury that occurs from the power being shut off.

Electric companies have the money and attorneys to take on these type of suits.

Can the electric bill for individual usage separately?


You may wish to file suit in small claims court for the amount owed.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No we do not have an agreement with our neighbor. We are renting ourselves the landlord asked us to take on this burden. My neighbors are the non working type who go to casino at night sleep all day, and just bragged to me last week they got a $22,000 check from the state(must be nice). STILL NO PAY AND TOLD MY WIFE TO F*** OFF because she was asking for it. Quite the neighbors. They are 20-30 age range with a 6-7 year old child. The bill cannot be separate because the landlord has some shady thing going where there can only be one meter for both units. I live in the House on five acres, my neighbor lives in a little 1960's trailer on the other side of the fence.

I apologize, there is an issue with the site editing feature.

I was trying to ask you if the electric company could separate the usage and bill you both individually.

Thank you for understanding the question and clarifying the situation.

There is no question that this is the landlord's responsibility. Please do not take it upon yourself to shut off the electric. In fact the landlord should reimburse you for the amount paid on the neighbors behalf.

Is there possibility that the landlord will pay you back?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Now let me add. On 9/6/13 my good neighbor told my wife, he and his family would be leaving and may not come back (that is, they may find another place to live with their big gov. check) but would pay the electric bills before they left. Well they left without paying. I called him on Monday 9/9/13 he never responded back. The entire week goes by: all lights and all air conditioning full blast. Knock on his door on 9/20/13 no answer. So on 9/28/13 Sat. with my wife, being scared that they bailed on us, we turned off their electricity from 5pm to 9 am Sunday 9/29/13 morning. After thinking about it I turned it back on Sunday morning 9am. I called again on 9/29/13 demanding that they return my call by 8pm that day or we would take it as them bailing on the Bill and we would turn off their power. I got a return call in 30 minutes. Their back now and still no pay. Is this something We should about that is, us turning off the power on Saturday night? Also is there any way this conversation between us could sent to my email because I have no way of printing this on the computer I am using now?

Unfortunately, the terms of service for the site do not permit emailing conversations. This is the only forum where I can work with you. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause for you.

Here is the problem; under California Civil Code 789.3 it is illegal to shut off a tenant’s electricity

If you shut off the electric you could be liable for damages, even though you are acting on behalf of the landlord.

I am not sure why you want to take on the landlord's responsibilities. In this situation this will open you up to liability.

If the other tenants are deadbeats your landlord needs to have them evicted. The landlord needs to reimburse your for the electric bill.

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Thank you.